Jul 30, 2012

Does BlackBerry still have an advantage over other devices when it comes to security?

At first, the only mobile device my company supported for employee use was BlackBerry. Then we added iPhones. Last year, we added Android, and now it is pretty much an open house party. Come on in, everyone, the data keg is out back!

From an IT perspective, it does add some headaches just having more than one OS/hardware combination, and BBs are the easiest devices for us to lock down and manage application use, but I haven't really seen the walls come crashing down like some people predicted when our BYOD policy became more liberal.

I'm not trying to beat up on poor ole RIM, they have enough problems these days. But, the number of new BlackBerry activations that I have seen this year has dropped way off compared to the past. I have to wonder if their raison d'être has faded. How much more secure are BBs than the competition these days? Is it still even a legitimate selling point?



Up until a few months ago I worked at a University, so my initial response was, "What is this BlackBerry thing of which you speak?"  :-)


In the wider world, I have arrived too late to even encounter more than a token few BlackBerries.  At my current position, I would estimate less than 5% of the smartphones/tablets we support are BlackBerry.  Giving credit where credit is due, I suppose BlackBerries have a more secure native email.  However, that's not really much of an advantage over other devices; we just use Microsoft Exchange.  There may be some advantage for security with BlackBerry, but frankly, the other devices are secure enough. 


I will say that it is easier to manage application use on a BlackBerry, but I'm not sure that advantage is enough to keep them in the game for much longer.  BB10 better be a home run of the grand slam variety, or I expect that 5% figure I mentioned above will soon have a zero and decimal point in front of the 5.


Blackberry is dying in the face of tough competition from iOS and Android. Both of those platforms are going to get better and better in terms of security. So whatever advantage Blackberry might still have won't really matter in the years ahead.

It's sad to see RIM declining like this, but change is inevitable. They missed the boat and now Apple and Android are eating their lunch big time. So it makes sense for companies to focus on products that are growing in use, and not dying like the Blackberry.
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